Ghanaian-German model cum actor Boris Kodjoe has opened up on the racism he experienced while growing up in his Freiburg neighborhood in Germany, revealing that the stigma he was subjected to was unabated as he and his brother were always singled out.
In an interview with Page Six, the 47-year-old, who was born to a Ghanaian father and a white German mother, said the experience left him feeling “alone” and “isolated.”
“I was part of a true minority,” he said. “It was me and my brother basically. So it takes on a different dynamic when it’s just me walking to school and being bullied and called names. I’m on the soccer field and I’m being attacked and bullied. It was part of my life every single day. Words about my hair and skin. I felt very alone, I felt very isolated. So you start building these walls around you.”
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The Station 19 star, however, said the situation is different in the United States as “you have the luxury of being part of a subculture that’s represented by millions of people so you don’t feel so alone.” Despite that, Kodjoe, who relocated to the United States on a tennis scholarship in the 1990s, said it still permeates systemic racism which “rears its ugly head every single day.”
During the interview, the actor also touched on how he tapped into his German upbringing to set up a routine for his children to keep them occupied during the lockdown period so “they don’t sleep till 2 pm.”
“It’s part of our culture, we are pretty organized,” Kodjoe said. “Even though at home it wasn’t like that, it’s part of the mentality growing up. You’re on time, you make sure you take care of your stuff, you respect people. I’m sure I’ve passed it on to my children. It’s not dogmatic in any way.”